Costa Coffee

Good morning!

Welcome to Business Live this Thursday morning and what will be another roller-coaster day thanks to Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with MPs from across the Commons today to try and find a way forward - and we'll bring you all the reaction from the stock and currency markets.

In the meantime, retailers will continue to publish their trading figures for Christmas.

Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, will give an update as will specialist retailer N Brown.

Whitbread, which has sold its Costa Coffee chain to Coca-Cola, and Premier Foods, home of Mr Kipling's exceedingly good cakes, will also announce figures.

As always, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at

Costa clearance

Costa coffee machine

The European Commission has cleared the sale of the Costa Coffee chain to US drinks maker Coca-Cola from British restaurant and hotel owner Whitbread.

"The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies do not sell the same products and the links between their activities are limited," the EU executive said in a statement.

Christchurch council refuse permission for new coffee shop
Councillors in Christchurch said there were already too many coffee shops in the town.

Whitbread: 'sentiment remains positive'

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, has commented on those Whitbread half-year figures,. He said:

Whitbread is in something of a holding pattern at present, with the Costa sale leaving Coca-Cola requiring regulatory approvals. The separation of the business has long been called for by investors and the sale has helped the share price rise by 13% over the last three months. Although the company is in the throes of an important strategic change, sentiment remains positive, with the market consensus of the shares coming in at a cautious buy.

Ad banned for criticising avocados

avocado on toast
Getty Images

An advert for Costa Coffee has been banned for urging customers to buy a bacon roll rather than avocados.

The radio ad featured a voiceover saying there was "a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados" but they will only "be ready to eat for about 10 minutes then they'll go off".

It told people to choose the "better deal" of a roll or egg muffin.

The Advertising Standards Authority said two listeners complained it discouraged consumers from selecting fresh fruit.

The regulator said consumers would interpret the ad as a comparison between the experience of eating an avocado and a bacon roll or egg muffin.

"We considered that, although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative, and in doing so discouraged the selection of avocados," the ASA said.

It ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again, adding: "We told Costa to ensure future ads did not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits and that they did not disparage good dietary practice."

Costa said their ad played on the "frustration and unpredictability of the avocado".